Gerard Jerome Melling - known as "Ged" (pronounced Jed) - was born on 6 January 1934 in Stirling, the youngest child of William Melling, a coalminer, and Elizabeth MacElhaney. He left school aged fifteen to become an apprentice house painter. After National Service he moved to London, and from 1961 to 1964 studied at St Martin's School of Art, where he specialised in painting. He afterwards worked as an art teacher in schools, while drawing cartoons in his spare time.
Melling’s first published cartoon appeared in Time Out soon after its launch in 1968, but he did not become a professional cartoonist until 1984, when he began providing single-column cartoons for The Times. As The Times acknowledged, "This was a paper at which he might not necessarily have been expected to feel at home. But he was gregarious, frequently in the office, and well known to the paper's different departments." Melling also worked for Today from its launch in 1986, for The Economist from 1989, and also contributed to the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Spectator, The Observer, The Oldie, Sporting Life and Private Eye.
The Times described Melling's cartoons as "tidy and economical": "At first glance, his line has an uncertain look: somewhat wobbly or quavering -an old person's drawing. But in fact a Melling drawing knows exactly where it is going. His figures -often just a couple -have immediate personality. Scenes are cleverly composed. There is significant detail with no loss of clarity and impact."
Melling suffered from bipolar disorder (manic depression), which began with two episodes in his twenties. In later life he devoted much time to publicising the work of the mental health charity Mind. Ged Melling suffered head injuries when knocked down while crossing the road, and died in London on 29 October 2007.
- Mark Bryant "Ged Melling - Cartoonist, illustrator and painter", The Independent, 5 November 2007, p.42.
- The Times, 15 November 2007, p.69, "Ged Melling."
51 accessioned originals and photocopies
Daily Telegraph, Timesback to top